Shohei Tateyama – The Underappreciated Ace

Shohei TateyamaLast week’s win against Orix was a special one for Tokyo starter Shohei Tateyama. Tateyama’s seven run-free innings earned him his 6th win of the season. 

But more remarkably, it was his 12th consecutive victory in a series of starts that stretch back to last August.

Here is the full list:

August 2008

15th, vs Chunichi – WIN

27th, vs Hiroshima – WIN

September 2008

3rd, vs Chunichi – WIN

10th, vs Hanshin – No Decision

16th, vs Hiroshima – ND

23rd, vs Chunichi – WIN

October 2008

1st, vs Hiroshima – WIN

7th, vs Chunichi – WIN

April 2009

7th, vs Chunichi – ND

16h, vs Yomiuri – WIN

22nd, vs Yomiuri – ND

29th, vs Chunichi – WIN

May 2009

10th, vs Hiroshima – WIN

16th, vs Hanshin – WIN

22nd, vs Hokkaido – WIN

28th, vs Orix – WIN


Tokyo's 400-Win Legend, Masaichi Kaneda in the old threads

So that’s a total of 16 starts without a loss including 12 wins. Quite a feat, and a new club record, eclipsing the 11 wins of the great Masaichi Kaneda in the late 1950s. 


Tateyama joined the Swallows in 2003 and is now in his 6th year with the organisation. During his first season he was used as a starter, making 9 starts and being tagged with 3 losses,  posting an ERA of 5.19.

He then didn’t make another appearance for the top team until the 2005 season, when he became a regular member of the starting rotation, making 24 starts and posting a 10 and 6 record with a 3.95 ERA.

But he was then used as a utility guy from 2006 onwards, first being used as a starter, and then as middle reliever, set-up man and closer depending on the needs of the team and then manager Atsuya Furuta. He made 6 starts in 44 appearances in 2006 for a record of 2 and 5, with 5 saves and 16 hold points. He also posted the exact same ERA as in the year prior, 3.95.

He continued to be used as a utility man through the 2007 season, making 15 starts in 45 appearances. But while he posted his best ever ERA of 3.17, his record was 3 wins, 12 losses (with 5 saves and 5 HP) as it began to look like he may never make it as a regular starter.

He started the 2008 season out of the starting rotation due to shoulder troubles. But he was soon back in the rotation under then new manager Takada, helping to plug the gap left by the drug-suspended Daniel Rios. And boy did he grasp the opportunity with both hands, posting a 12 and 3 record for the year, with a stingy 2.99 ERA.

So far this year he’s stepped it up another notch, with a 6 and 0/1.53ERA record to date.

So congratulations Shohei. Although your profile is low, you are truly one of the premier starters in Japan today, and long may your good form continue!

And to the Swallows front office – make some merchandise with this man’s name on it. It is a disgrace that one STILL cannot buy a t-shirt or uniform with the number and name of the organisation’s ALL-TIME consecutive win record holder on it.

That’s a “25”, and “Tateyama” for any of you fuktards reading this. Surely the man deserves a bit of shine? And if he can’t get any from his own organization, who the hell is going to give it to him?

The Man

Mr.Tateyama, we here at Tsubamegun salute you!

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • And while we’re on the theme of Tateyama, get yourselves to the All Star website and vote him onto the 2009 CL All Star team.

    For those that need it, there’s an excellent guide in English here.

  • In 2008, Tateyama was expected to be a rotation starter from the beginning, but unfortunately he felt something wrong in his shoulder just before the opening game.

    This is written here (in Japanese)

    So it has nothing to do with Rios’s drug suspension.

    Oh, one more thing — his 2007 record was 3 wins, 12 losses.

  • In 2008, Tateyama was expected to be a rotation starter from the beginning, but unfortunately he felt something wrong in his shoulder just before the opening game.

    So it has nothing to do with Rios’s drug suspension.

    As always, thanks for the clarification Tomnish. I’ve corrected the post.

    And thanks for spotting the typo, also corrected.

  • Hey, can we trade you our Tateyama for your Tateyama? 🙂

  • As kind of an offer as that is Deanna, I’d have to politely refuse.

    Though if you contact our front office they may well bite.

  • Deanna, David, I’m laughing, but only to mask the tears. Too true, Mr. Watkins. Although the front office might be waiting for Tateyama to become an indisputable top-tier starter, so they can give him to Yomiuri and get nothing in return.